Last year, Cartier launched the first three models of their ‘Drive de Cartier’ collection. Never before the brand released a new time piece that was, from a design and advertising point of view, so targeted to men as the ‘Drive de Cartier’ collection. In general, the response was very positive. The ‘Drive de Cartier’ was picked up pretty soon after it was released, especially the ‘time only’ model.
During the last SIHH, two more models are added to the ‘Drive de Cartier’ collection. They probably appeal to a part of the Cartier clientele, on which the previous three models might have been lost: that of the classic Cartier connoisseur.
Purists will be pleased that Cartier reduced the size of the case of the Drive, from 41mm to 39mm and almost cut the height in half, from 12 mm to 6.6 mm. The ‘Drive de Cartier Extra Flat’ does not have an automatic 1904 based caliber, but is using the mechanical hand wound 430MC. A very thin caliber by Piaget that Cartier has been using for years already, in their Santos Dumont for example. To make the case as thin as possible the watchmakers also decided to give the watch a solid back.
A display back with sapphire crystal would have made the case considerable thicker. The result is a very comfortable and discrete watch on the wrist, that fits under every type of cuff. The dial is as plain as possible, it even doesn’t have the guilloché like the other watches in the ‘Drive de Cartier’ collection have. With only the Cartier logo and the Roman numerals, combined with the thin and blued sword hands, the ‘Drive de Cartier Extra Flat’ offers a minimalistic and classy look.
The watch comes in pink gold as well as a limited edition series of just 200 pieces made in white gold. This white gold version is the winner for me, but be aware of the possibility that Cartier could release a steel version that probably shares the exact same looks. Like they did in 2005, when the Pasha 42 was released in steel.
The other new ‘Drive de Cartier’ that was introduced has a moon phases indicator. It is also more pure looking then the former ‘Drive de Cartier’ introductions. Especially when compared to the version with small complications, that was released last year. This Cartier Drive has my favorite complication, a moon phase, located above the number 6. Cartier chose for the traditional moon phase with blue sky and gold moon & stars.
The moon phases indicator looks great on the ‘Drive de Cartier’. In my opinion, much nicer than a moon phases indicator by hand or with a full circular cut-out on the dial. There is no seconds hand and no date indicator on this reference, which results in a very well-balanced dial.
Cartier’s team in La Chaux-de-Fonds developed a new caliber for this specific model, the automatic 1904-LU MC. It is based on their 1904MC caliber, ticking at 28.800Hz and has a 48-hour power reserve. Only the word ‘AUTOMATIC’, written on the guilloché dial belongs in the user guide instead of on the dial in my opinion. The Cartier Drive Moon phase comes in pink gold and in steel.
These two watches are difficult to compare. Although they both belong to the same collection, they are very different time pieces. Each of them will have their own share of admirers. The Moon Phase as well as the Extra Flat can easily be worn with a shirt and suit, but the extra flat is the absolute dress watch of these two. The ‘Drive de Cartier Moon Phase’ with its larger case, looks great with any outfit as well. The watch is more sporty due to its domed crystal, which is the charm of the ‘Drive collection’.
Cartier doesn’t make life easier with these two new additions, especially for those who were planning to get last year’s ‘Drive de Cartier’ (read the review of this watch here) with small complications (pictured above). The new Cartier Drive Moon Phase may echo a bit more balanced look, without loosing any of the typical charm of the Drive collection. It might be enough to pull the trigger.